In difficulty since the loss of a large contract with the incumbent telecommunications operator, Scopelec, a subcontractor for Orange specializing in the deployment of telecom networks, announced on Wednesday July 6 a job protection plan (PSE) providing for the dismissal of “several hundred of its employees”.

Between five hundred and five hundred and fifty employees should be affected, said a source familiar with the matter; initially, the number of eight hundred redundancies had been mentioned. More than a thousand departures – voluntary or employees taken over by other companies in the sector – have already taken place since the end of 2021, said this source. Scopelec is the largest cooperative and participatory company (SCOP) in France, with three thousand six hundred employees, who hold 74.8% of the capital.

Scopelec ensured for Orange the laying of the optical fiber and the maintenance of the copper network. The company has been a subcontractor of the incumbent operator since 1973, the year of its creation. Orange was the company’s first customer. Lost contracts represent around 150 million euros per year, or 40% of the annual turnover of the oldest French cooperative, estimated at 475 million euros in 2021.

Since the announcement, in December 2021, of the loss of this contract, internal or external redeployment solutions have been found for approximately seven hundred employees. But several hundred technicians affected by the cessation of activity for Orange remained under the threat of dismissal, mainly in Normandy, Charente, Occitanie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and New Aquitaine.

“As a result of the loss of the Orange markets, the company will still have to lay off several hundred of its employees and will seek to implement a social restructuring that best respects its societal commitments as part of the safeguard procedure” , the group said in a statement on Wednesday.

Departure of the Chairman of the Management Board

Scopelec also announced the departure “in the coming months” of the chairman of its executive board, Thomas Foppiani. The management has started “the steps” to find a successor for him. “The company salutes the work carried out by Thomas Foppiani throughout his mandate and particularly during the last seven tense months which have seen him work towards a solution with the State and Orange in order to assert the legitimate rights of Scopelec and to preserve as many jobs as possible, following the sudden loss of these contracts, “said the group.

Informed in mid-November 2021 of the loss of the contract, which expired at the end of March, the company considers that it has had no warning signs from Orange as to this shortfall and does not didn’t have time to prepare for it. Scopelec presented on June 30, to the Lyon Commercial Court, the main lines of its PSE project, which must be validated a priori in September. For its part, Orange must confirm its commitments to its subcontractor.